Earth Sciences Division (ESD) Department of Energy (DOE) Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL)

Earth Sciences Division Staff: Ryan Knox

Ryan Knox

Ryan Knox

Postdoctoral Fellow

Climate Sciences Department



Phone: 510-495-2153

Fax: 510-486-5686


Biographical Summary

Dr. Knox conducts research in the earth systems disciplines of eco-hydrology, terrestrial vegetation dynamics and terrestrial biophysics.  He joined Berkeley Lab's Climate and Carbon Science group in early in 2013 after completing his Ph.D in hydrology at MIT.  During his thesis work he began active involvement in the development of the Ecosystem Demography Model 2, which served him as a research tool to better understand how Amazonian deforestation interacts and co-evolves with natural vegetation and regional climate.  At Berkeley Lab, Dr. Knox is currently investigating methods of representing radiation scattering and various other biophysical processes in models of forest canopies that feature the reduced dimensionality necessary in whole earth simulators.  He is also investigating how and where growth increments are distributed over the size, type and age classes of tropical forest trees, and how this process can be improved in ecosystem models to enable more accurate predictions of ecosystem response to a changing climate.


  • February 2013  - Massachusetts Institute of Technology PhD in Hydrology
  • June 2002  - University of Connecticut, Storrs B.S.E. in Civil and Environmental & Engineering

Professional Experience

  • Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory - Earth Science Division - Climate and Carbon Sciences May 2013 - Present
    Postdoctoral Fellow
    • Research on the development and implementation of next-generation terrestrial biosphere dynamics and biophysics in land modeling systems.
  • Sustainability Science Program at Harvard Kennedy Schools Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government January 2013 - May 2013
    Postdoctoral Researcher
    • Research Project: “Sustainable Development of the Amazon and its Surrounding Regions: The Interplay of Changing Climate, Hydrology, and Land Use”. Development of environmental modeling software, pertaining to the physical consistencies of cloud radiation scattering and general handling of model memory.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology September 2004 - October 2012
    Research Assistant Cambridge, MA
    • Thesis research: Knox, R.G. Land Conversion in Amazonia and Northern South America; Influences on Regional Hydrology and Ecosystem Response. Dissertation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
    • Cambridge, 2012.
    • Research experience developing physically based ecosystem and atmospheric models
    • Working experience with a wide variety of data-sets related to climate, land-surface energy fluxes and ecosystem structure and composition
    • Field experience building eddy covariance (EC) measurement systems (semi-arid and tropical); project design, fabrication of structural elements, system wiring, data acquisition coding
    • Research experience in regional rainfall and land-surface statistics, using Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM) precipitation radar and the Terra satellite’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), see: Knox R.G. et al. Precipitation Variability over the Forest-to-Nonforest
    • Transition in Southwestern Amazonia. Journal of Climate, 24(9), 2011.
  • University of Connecticut June 2002 - August 2004
    Research Assistant Storrs, CT
    • Research on uncertainty in radar rainfall estimation and propagation through hydrologic models, see: Knox R.G. and E.M. Anagnostou. Scale Interactions in Radar Rainfall Estimation Uncertainty. Journal of Hydrologic Engineering, 14(9), 2009.
    • Field experience operating an X-band mobile radar
    • Field experience managing a network of hydrologic measurement stations
    • Technical experience processing raw radar data, delineating watersheds, and operating the Gridded Surface and Subsurface Hydrologic Analysis (GSSHA) modeling framework

Technical Strengths

  • Co-Develope, Terrestrial Ecosystem Biophysics
    • Ecosystem Demography Model 2.1 (EDM)
    • Parametrization of terrestrial heat and mass transfer, integration techniques
  • High Performance Computing
    • Parallelization and numerical optimization techniques, vectorization, procedural optimization, input/output, memory handling
  • Computer Language, Protocols & APIs
    • C, Fortran 90, Matlab/Octave, OpenGL, Visual Basic
    • Message Passing Interface (MPI), Hierarchical Data Format (HDF), Network Common Data Format (NetCDF), OpenMP
  • Sensor Technology
    • Campbell data loggers, sensor system design, eddy covariance, heat flux plates, radiation sensors, dielectric soil moisture probes
  • Visualization Techniques
    • Designer, Ecosystem Demography
    • Display Interface (EDDI)
  • Server Administratio, Information Systems Processing 
    • Distributed HPC Linux computer clusters
    • Techniques in:
      • Satellite Retrieval
      • Spectral Correction
      • Geospatial Mosaicing
      • Classification
      • Filtering
      • MODIS,Landsat,SRTM,TRMM,etc

Awards and Affiliations

  • Member, Chi Epsilon National Civil Engineering Honor Society
  • Recipient, American Geophysical Union Outstanding Student Paper Award, 2003 Joint Assembly
  • Recipient, Presidential Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2004-2005